The Cyclo-Cross European Championships ended today in Namur (Belgium) with the victory of the Belgian Michael Vanthourenhout in the Men’s Elite.
Over the three days of racing (Masters races took place on Friday), the symbolic circuit around the Namur Citadel saw the best riders of the discipline compete in high-level technical events in front of huge crowds. There was a total of 17,000 spectators who watched the races during the three days.
Michael Vanthourenhout won giving a very strong performance in a very difficult race.
The circuit promised a very exciting race, but rain started to fall in Namur a few minutes before the start making it even more difficult and demanding.
The current champion Lars van der Haar was leading at the start of the race and managed to keep ahead of the Belgian Michael Vanthourenhout when he was caught up, but mid-race the Belgian attacked Van der Haar and rode solo to the finish line winning the second European title of his career after 2013 in the Under 23s. Third place went to Laurens Sweeck (Belgium).
The result was as expected in the Women’s Elite with Fem van Empel totally dominating the race. The Dutch rider aged twenty, after a quiet race start, caught up all her opponents and crossed the line alone 22" ahead of her compatriot Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and 36" before the Hungarian Kata Blanka Vas.
The World Vice-Champion Emiel Verstrynge won the European title in the Under 23s. The race was extremely close with the Dutch dominating the start, especially Pim Ronhaar who remained in front until the last lap, when he was unable to fight off the Belgian attack. At the finish line, Verstrynge came first ahead of his compatriots Thibau Nys, by six seconds, and Witse Meeussen by 11''.
In the Women’s Under 23, Puk Pieterse (Netherlands) dominated the race. The current World Champion took control right from the start and held on to the lead right until the finish. Behind Pieterse, was the French rider Line Burquier (50") and the current European Champion Shirin van Anrooij (Netherlands), third at 1'27".
Dutch victory also in the Women’s Juniors with yesterday’s favourite, Lauren Molengraaf, who after an exciting duel with the Italian Valentina Corvi won the European Champion title narrowly beating the Italian and Xaydee Van Sinaey (Belgium), who finished third.
The Men’s Juniors race was also difficult to predict right until the end. After a very fast start, the French rider Leo Bisiaux made a solo attack before being caught up by the Dane, Weis Daniel Nielsen in the last lap, who then managed to go back in front. At the finish Bisiaux beat Nielsen by 6" and the Dutch rider Guus van den Eijnden came third at 19".
The next edition of the Cyclo-Cross European Championships will take place in Pont-Château (France) on 4 and 5 November 2023.
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